Trustees hoping to add three annual programs a year to World’s End

Worlds End

October 18, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer

The Trustees of Reservations is requesting town board approval to add an additional three programs at World's End annually that would accommodate 100 vehicles -- including family campouts, small chamber concerts, and public picnics.

The reason for this request is to help the Trustees better meet community demand for programming.

In order to increase accessibility to these events for visitors with disabilities, the request includes a change in parking from the main parking area to Planter's Hill.

The last two years have shown that the current parking and ticketing protocols -- including an advance online ticketing system and requiring advance parking reservations on weekends and holidays implemented at the height of the pandemic, when visitation rose by 140 percent-- are adequate to accommodate those levels of circulation with no back-up into Martin's Lane, according to Anne Smith-White, Director, South Shore Portfolio, Trustees of Reservations.

"Our mission is to preserve and protect distinctive and dynamic places of exceptional scenic, historical, and ecological value for public use and enjoyment [such as World's End] . . . and [for visitors] to form deeper connections to community culture and conservation," she said at Monday's joint Planning Board/Zoning Board of Appeals hearing about this request.

Also requested is a modification to the World's End Traffic and Parking Management Plan approved in Oct. 2019 following a great deal of discussion among Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals members.

The current plan was created as part of the permitting process for the new parking lot, driveway, and classroom structure. Since that time, the Trustees of Reservations has independently implemented several additional measures to minimize the impact of traffic on the neighborhood, according to Smith-White.

"The overall goals of this amended plan remain the same as they were for the 2019 document: the Trustees aims to ensure and maintain the safety of visitors to the property; to maximize the most efficient traffic flow while minimizing negative impacts on the community; and to formalize the management of traffic and parking at World’s End in a way that better reflects our learning from the last three years," Smith-White stated in a memo to the two boards.

While the expected traffic impacts from these additional three events would add up to about 1.5 hours a year when vehicles would be entering and exiting the site, she explained, some neighbors still felt uncomfortable with the change because it would add additional traffic to their already burdened narrow roadway.

In response to repeated concerns in the past about traffic congestion and high speeds, the Trustees caution visitors on their website to drive carefully through the World's End neighborhood. About 37,000 vehicle trips are made annually to the reservation.

Laurie Fiore, a Surrey Road resident who lives two houses away from the main gate, said the noise from a recent event was "unbearable" and that some buses continue to idle at the gate after dropping students off for field trips.

Hingham Police Traffic Sargeant Jeffrey Kilroy was on the Zoom call, stating that he has not received any complaints since the earlier implementation of the new parking and traffic plan.

Porter's Cove Road resident Liza O'Reilly agreed that the current parking plan has worked well but expressed concerns that additional cars only contribute to the worsening of the already deteriorating seawall in the area.

In addition, "This past year, events have increased dramatically, and the neighborhood has felt the impact," she said.

A couple of board members expressed concerns about potential negative environmental impacts to portions of the property from cars sometimes parking on the two main fields, but it was pointed out that the fields are so large that parking can be staggered so as not to overuse one particular area.

Besides, Smith-White noted, those two areas represent only roughly two to three percent of the 253-acre property.

Hingham resident Nicole Bellows, who doesn't live in that neighborhood but often visits World's End, said that approving the three additional events should be a "no brainer." She praised the Trustees for their stewardship of the property, calling World's End "a beautiful community resource -- such a treasure to the community."

The hearing was continued until Nov. 7 for the Planning Board and Nov. 17 for the ZBA, both at 7 p.m.

Further information is available at

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